Sunday, November 9, 2014

Tonight's Sky for November 9: Carl Sagan Born (1934)

It was on this date in 1934 that Carl Sagan, perhaps the most famous astronomer of the 20
th century, was born. Sagan's 'personal voyage' into discovery began at a young age with a question: what are the stars? It was this quest to find the answer to this question that set the course of Sagan's life and propelled him into a 30+ year career as a scientist that is, ironically, often overlooked thanks to his iconic Cosmos TV series and accompanying book. Cosmos, unlike Sagan's academic work, Cosmos presented no new ideas nor validated any old theories, but rather made the science of astronomy understandable to the masses. It was for this reason, his ability to communicate complex ideas in a way that anyone could understand, that Sagan became to be seen as a star educator rather than a scientist, per se. Sagan would continue to be viewed in this light until his death in December, 1996. To date, his shoes have gone unfilled to millions the world over.  

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